After J and Kaori left, Ellie looked at Nico straight lipped. The dishes were practically done and the pots were where they were suppose to be.
"What?" He looked at her as if it wouldn't be so bad. As it was, his place was above the shop. It was all his, since his Dad moved to the Philippines. He shut off the light and they went up the narrow passage.
His place was locked up. He opened the door and let her in first.
Ellie took a look around the minimal living space. If only he had a dog or a cat. She found herself mentioning it to him.
"I feed the strays out back." He was matter of fact. Ellie felt her shoulders sink in. This was going to be the worst night ever.
He asked if she wanted coffee as she took the papers out of her backpack. There were 52 papers to go through. There was a key with the answers. She might have it done in 40 minutes or so, if she tried, but she didn't really want, too.
"Sure." She'd drag this night out as long as she had, too. But her eyes were tired, as she was certain, they were red too.
She cracked her knuckles and fixed her red pen to mark out the wrong answers.
"They sure do trust you." He observed.
"Well, yeah, I'm actually a certified teacher." But it hadn't happened yet, the teaching. It was still part-time. No benefits. "Kaori's in the same boat." Ellie wanted to tell him it was hard work, but what would Nico know. He'd been a layabout most of his life. And now he had his own ramen shop, thanks to his dad.
"You know, I'm here for you. Right?" He put down the black coffee next to her papers.
She looked at him. She couldn't help but scowl.
"So." Her voice was ever so dull. "I have someone." She sounded as if Nico didn't have to worry about her mental state.
"Who?" He looked puzzled as he sat down across from her at the coffee table.
"You, don't know him." She shrugged and went back to grading papers. She'd see who would fall asleep first. Maybe they'd sleep right here.
"Just tell me who it is?" He wanted to know as if this was a real threat.
Ellie couldn't help but have an open smile. "I know him online. He lives in New York City."
"Stop, making crap up." Nico drew a frown.
"But, its true. And..and we text each other..all the time." She winced and went back to writing in red, on an elementary student's paper.
"Text?" He made it sound like a dirty word. "I bet he doesn't even exist."
"Oh," Ellie laughed softly. "He exist."
"You, don't even know if its really him, you're talking too." He shook his head, no.
"Oh god, haven't you ever heard of something called Snap Chat?" She winced.
"You're a liar." He pointed a finger at her, and she snatched it. Were they going to have to get in a wrestling match over this?